Our Research

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Contact Details

  Street address:
Level 11, KGV Building
Missenden Road
Postal address:
Post Office Box M30
Missenden Road NSW 2050

Phone: (02) 9515-6111
Fax: (02) 9515-9610

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Occupational Therapy

Our Research

One of our senior therapists in the outpatient lymphoedema service, Robyn Sierla, was awarded a scholarship from Sydney Research in 2015. The scholarship is a Health Informatics grant and it is being used to investigate how lymphoedema is assessed and the criteria for change.

To date a systematic review into how researchers assess lymphoedema and an observational study looking at how clinicians assess lymphoedema have been completed. The minimum outcome set is in the process of being confirmed through an international Delphi survey. This information has been used to develop a desktop application which records and processes assessment information with the goal of simplifying, and standardising reporting as well as providing an output for analysis by the health service or researchers. A prototype of the desktop application is near completion and the next step of the research is multi-site trial, evaluation and refinement.The goal is to standardise and make better use of assessment data for the clinician, the patient and the health system. It will also increase the potential for cross-site research.

ACC&R - Home Based Therapy
 - Ongoing collection of OT outcome measures using the AusTOMS - OT tool. Plan to analyse this data in 2017.
 - Staff presented at the SLHD OT Quality Forum regarding the implementation of the pressure mapping system and the positive outcomes on clinical decision making.

Community Health
The Community Health paediatric Occupational Therapy Department has recently begun a research project partnering with the University of Sydney and an Occupational Therapy Honours Student focusing on our Handwriting Groups.

A summary of the handwriting research project aims and outcomes:

  • Stakeholder perceptions of utility and impact (parents and OTs; the teacher feedback would be saved for 2018)
  • Examining the non standardized current screening and assessments used to see what aspects of handwriting performance are being assessed in relation to the literature
  • Seeing what evidence base is being used to underpin the program strategies
  • Exploring whether standardized assessments could be used - finding out what is available and exploring stakeholder (parents and OTs) perceptions
  • Developing up a research protocol that we could use in 2018 to assess impact.

Key Achievements

  • SLHD quality award received
  • Research output for RPAH lymphoedema service - research plan for PhD student presented at SLHD symposium 2016.
  • Acceptance of a abstract submitted to the 2017 OT National Conference for poster presentation regarding the use of the AusTOMs outcome measure for community based clients receiving OT intervention.



2016 SLHD quality award - Translational Research. This was awarded to the outpatient lymphoedema service at RPAH for work looking at cellulitis incidence over a two year period and the impact of lymphoedema treatment on hospital admissions

Research Staff

  • Robyn Sierla
  • Melissa Cain
  • Melissa Elvery
  • Professor Anne Cusick
  • Rachel Walker
  • Rachel Smith
  • Britt Woolfenden
  • Natasha Rogers
  • Lauren Taylor

Higher Degree Students:


  • Robyn Sierla



  1. SLHD Innovation and research symposium - presentation of research plan for Health Informatics scholarship.
  2. Presentation to the board of Sydney Research of the research proposal
  3. SLHD OT Quality Forum - Implementation of the pressure mapping system and the associated positive clinical outcomes.

Research Grants

Sydney Research Robyn Sierla Health Informatics $40,000 Mid 2015 - Mid 2018 (annual review)

Occupational Therapy Discipline Director

Contact details for department

Department/Unit: Occupational Therapy
Missenden Road
Camperdown NSW 2050
Telephone: (02) 9515 9926
Facsimile: (02) 9515 9928
Web: www.slhd.nsw.gov.au/research/
Email: robyn.sierla@health.nsw.gov.au